A question was asked, almost unanimously, upon the news that the Tampa Bay Rays had traded David Prices to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team deal that netted them Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, and Willy Adames.
Shouldn’t they have gotten more for him?
And the next follow-up question, of course, was this one: if that’s all they were going to get for a legit, left-handed ace with a year of team control left on his deal, couldn’t they have waited until this winter and gotten the same package?
Not so, says general manager Andrew Friedman. As told to the Tampa Bay Times:
The simple answer is because the Rays were convinced they would have gotten less then.
“Somewhere,” executive VP Andrew Friedman said, “between a good bit less to dramatically less.”
In an especially interesting bit of opinion, Friedman offered that he believes the league is in the midst of a transition when it comes to the way prospects are valued in trades. He sees that as a key reason that the Rays took the deal that they did for big league players.
Friedman said it has clearly gotten to the point where those prospects are “overvalued,” meaning the currency for these type of deals has changed. And, while cyclical, that wasn’t going to flip back by this winter.
As usual, Friedman and the Rays are trying to be out in front of a developing trend. While everybody else is trying to measure this trade by the lack of prospects, Friedman says that we are entering a stage of the “cycle” where that is no longer a useful way to measure trades.
Decide for yourself, but I am inclined to go with Friedman on this one because the Rays aren’t wrong very often.